A Great Gray Whale Season in 2018

Our last week of gray whale trips was one to remember.  As the gray whales put on some weight during their springtime visits to Puget Sound they tend to get a bit more active before they continue their long journey northward.

On April 18 we had an especially exciting, and unusual experience with gray whales 383, 21, and 22.  The trio was traveling closely together at a slow pace in Saratoga Passage when all of a sudden they put on the afterburners and sped up really fast.  The next thing we knew gray whale 383 came flying out of the water with three tremendous breaches in a row!  We don’t see gray whales breach very often so its amazing to see 3 within a few minutes.  The three whales also seemed to be getting aggressive with each other at the same time, which is also very unusual.  They were throwing their tail flukes towards each other at the surface over and over, creating big splashes each time as a result.  After about 20 minutes of excitement the whales all calmed down and it was as if nothing had ever happened.  Amazing!

On following trips after “breach day” we also saw several gray whale spyhops during that last week of gray whale season.  This year we were blessed to see gray whales 21, 22, 44, 49, 53, 56, 383, 531, and 723 along with a few new whales including 185 and an unidentified young gray whale too!  The grays were very good to us this year!  Naturalist Bart Rulon